National Data | Federal Data Confirms: New Orleans Nightmare Was Predictable
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Despite the best efforts of Steve Sailer and the analysis in the recently-released The Color of Crime, the role of race in post-Katrina America is still unmentionable. Any race or ethnicity, given the chance, would have looted, raped, and murdered. Or so the PC crowd would have us believe.

Obviously, we cannot conduct a controlled experiment, inundating other cities and observing the result. But the correlation between the black proportion of the population in large U.S. cities and their rates of violent crime is depressingly obvious in data collected by the Federal government.

In Table 1, I rank large cities (population 500,000 and above) on their crime rates as reported by local authorities to the FBI.  Black population shares and violent crime rates per 100,000 inhabitants for representative cities are as follows:

  • 10 safest cities: 7.9 percent Black; 555 crimes per 100,000


  • 10 most dangerous cities: 44 percent Black; 1,494 per 100,000


  • Honolulu (safest city): 1.6 percent; 288


  • Detroit (most dangerous): 82 percent; 2,028

Los Angeles, the ninth most dangerous city, was far less Black than others in the top ten—but (hmmm!) it had more than three times their Hispanic population share.

New Orleans is another anomaly, but for a very different reason. Although the city is 67 percent Black, its violent crime rate—976 per 100,000 population—is, while high, actually below each of the10 "most dangerous" cities.

Perhaps the best explanation was that reported by an Australian journalist days after Katrina hit: [John Harlow, "Poverty rules in crime capital of the South – KATRINA'S WAKE," The Australian, September 5, 2005.]

"The New Orleans Police Department – long accused of corruption – claimed it was cleaning up its act, but in an extraordinary admission last week the FBI said any improvement in the city's grim crime statistics could have been due to people taking the law into their own hands.

"FBI special agent James Bernazzani told reporters: 'There is a community perception that the state judicial system has failed. And when that perception, true or not, becomes ingrained, then a second judicial system kicks in – street revenge.'"

Implication: New Orleans' official violent crime rate is low because victims see no point in reporting occurrences to a dysfunctional police department.

Murder may be the one crime deemed important enough to report—even in the Big Easy. At 57.7 homicides per 100,000 population, NO's murder rate is more than twice the average for the ten "most dangerous" cities (24 per 100,000 population).

Murder rates have declined in most U.S. cities; they are still rising in New Orleans.

Race is not the only factor predisposing a community to violent crime. Poverty, educational levels, the distribution of income, even population density, are all relevant variables.

But even after adjusting for these other factors, the data undeniably shows that Blacks are more violence-prone than other groups.

FEMA should not have been surprised.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.

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